Honorary Dr. King’s civil rights legacy with free legal aid

By Becky Kruse

Updated: 1 day ago Published: 1 day ago

Stock gavel / court

If the pandemic has taught us anything, that’s how much we need each other. Businesses need workers. Children need teachers. The sick need doctors and nurses. Most of us need a professional hairdresser.

And to encounter a legal problem, you need an attorney. Regrettably, thousands of Alaskans face legal challenges every year without the resources to hire an attorney or access to limited legal aid. Filling that gap falls to attorneys willing to volunteer their time pro bono.

On Jan. 16, attorneys across the state will be spending their Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday as “a day on, not a day off” by volunteering for the 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Legal Clinics.

At these free in-person clinics in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Bethel, Alaskans with civil legal problems can expect first-come, first-served consultations with an attorney. Attorneys will be available to provide advice on a wide variety of issues, including family law (child support, custody, divorce, guardianship), housing (eviction, foreclosure), public benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security), employment, personal injury , probate, estate planning and Native allotments. Times and locations will vary by community. For more information, visit www.alaskabar.org/mlk.

Alaskans with low or moderate incomes can also submit legal questions at alaska.freelegalanswers.org. This free legal clinic is available any time of the year but will have extra staffing on MLK Day to serve those unable to attend one of the in-person clinics.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Legal Clinics are sponsored by the Alaska Bar Association, the Alaska Court System and Alaska Legal Services Corp. and honor Dr. King’s spirit of service and advocacy for equality and social justice.

Becky Kruse is chair of the Alaska Bar Association’s Pro Bono Service Committee.

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